Raping virgins and HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe's most prominent organisation fighting child sexual abuse is confronting traditional healers to take action over the myth that having sex with a virgin can cure Aids - one reason behind the rape of young girls.
In a rural area some 200km east of Harare, a play is being acted out.
An HIV-positive man visits a traditional healer and is advised to have sex with a virgin in order to be cured.
The reasoning is that the blood produced by raping a virgin will cleanse the virus from the infected person's blood.
It is part of the Girl Child Network project and was staged at a girl's empowerment village, where rape survivors are given safe accommodation, counselling and training in life-skills.
Traditional healers from all of the country's provinces recently attended a meeting here, along with chiefs, a government minister and religious leaders, where many of the girls stood up and gave accounts of the abuse that they had suffered.
One was raped by her father when she was two years old.
She is now eight, and an orphan, as her father died in prison after the rape was reported by her mother, who has also died.
A 14-year-old told how her uncle raped her and left her pregnant.
She was thrown out of the house by her aunt and had an abortion after six months. There were complications and she has been ill ever since.
"I'm traumatised," she said, in floods of tears.
All of the groups represented were moved by the vivid accounts and condemned the abuse, but none admitted responsibility for encouraging sex with virgins to cure HIV.
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